Are Modern Power Tools Junk?
A recent blog post asking readers to weigh in on the merits and utility of their corded drills has sparked an interesting topic:
Are today’s power tools junk compared to the power tools used by our fathers and grandfathers?
I can see the argument being fiercely debated by both sides.
On the one hand, we have modern cordless tools at our disposal that rival the power of their corded counterparts – an absolute revolution compared to being 100% reliant on extension cords in the past. There have also been huge advances in electronic-controls, keyless chucks, accurate fences, and let’s face it, today’s tools are a heck of a lot lighter and more comfortable to use than many of their predecessors.
On the other side of the argument, many people believe that today’s tools are basically throw-aways. Metal has largely been replaced by plastic. Power has often been dialed back in the name of better control, and replacement parts? Good luck even trying to back out the screws holding the tool together.
The proof is in the history…
- Skilsaws that could plow through miles of wet PT lumber and then scoff at you for being tired at the end of the workday.
- Metal-cased Porter Cable routers that could survive a skydiving accident, nevermind an accidental drop from a countertop.
- Milwaukee Sawzalls being used in the most heinous of situations, breathing in dirt, dust, and embedded nails, spitting out nothing but smoke and wood chips.
…nowadays a cut-cord is enough to toss the whole tool. A dead battery means an upgrade instead of a replacement pack. Heck, pros are now buying DIY entry-level tools from Ryobi, Craftsman, Skil, and others (many of which used to be the premium brands, by the way) and say “hey, if it lasts me 2 months I still got my money’s worth.”
Will Bosch’s portable table saw — widely argued to be the best in the market — outlast the old Makita models that EVERYbody used years ago? What about the classic Hitachi miter saw? It was innovative, and is still the top choice for many carpenters for it’s small size and comparitively huge capacity.
So where do we stand? Are modern tools just throw-aways?
Hopefully all of you tool developers, makers, and product managers reading this blog (and I KNOW you’re reading this blog!) will chime in with your stance.